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The Happy MD Responds: Physician Social Media

Posted Aug 01 2012 6:44am

Yesterday Dike Drummond, M.D., responded to my blog post about the ROI for physicians engaged in social media. Rather than bury his response as a comment, I thought I’d feature it here as a guest post. His response is thoughtful and provides context for our conversation. Take a look:

Dike Drummond

Hey Dan,

Thanks for this thoughtful post. Just the kind of introspection I had hoped this article would prompt in its readers. Looking at your perspective and mine on this very popular and important issue … I am reminded of the parable of the blind men and the elephant.

Each is touching a different part of the animal and assuming it is a completely different thing. The key here is BOTH of our viewpoints are valid when you understand our very different perspectives.

What you failed to share with your readers is the purpose of my blog and business. It will explain 90% of the differences in our feelings on social media.

I help over stressed and burned out physicians. Their most precious asset is time. Research shows 1 in 3 are burned out on any given office day – it’s basically an epidemic no one talks about – here is a research abstract as some supporting documentation.

There are over 100 pages and posts at my website – one of them is on social media. I stand by the substance of that article for my audience. The rest are on practical tools to lower stress and prevent burnout. Here is my burnout prevention resources page

My people are overwhelmed and thinking about quitting. They are in desperate need of tools to lower their stress and create more work-life balance.

If they are online at all they are inundated with calls to “be on social media” – which inevitably is at least three social networks at once. The only justification given by the average social media “consultant” is because everyone else is doing it and you don’t want to miss the boat. Dan, I am not saying that is you … just what is out there in the marketplace.

You and your business are focused on marketing and come from that perspective to the healthcare industry. There is no question that social media has a place in marketing … especially for institutions and entrepreneurial physicians. It is a new and valuable place to connect with patients.

My people often have very little in the way of marketing needs. They hung up their shingle years ago, their practice is full, they don’t need more patients and they are hanging on by their fingernails

In most cases their free time is best spent creating work-life balance and connecting with their family and not tweeting and updating facebook .. unless there is a significant monetary ROI.

You quote other kinds of ROI that are certainly present for many folks on social media .. and my argument is this “If your wife and kids are strangers and you are burned out … yet you spend 45 minutes a day on social media for no demonstrable ROI … how does that make sense?” Especially if your only justification is that everyone else is doing it.

So my advice to my clients – remember they are overstressed doctors who don’t need more patients, if anything, they need less – is that social medial does not make sense unless you can show a legitimate ROI that trumps a date night with your spouse. So think about it carefully before you dive in because each site has a substantial learning curve and daily workload to be done well.

Does this make sense if you put yourself in my shoes?

I suspect you are working with folks who have much more need for marketing support …. institutions or entrepreneurial MD’s like plastic surgeons and such.

This physician overload is an important thing for you to realize as you grow your own business. The projections of physician shortages of over 60,000 in just three years make the whole issue of overwhelm for doctors exponentially worse.

I hope this reply helps you understand why my post takes its viewpoint … not attacking you or healthcare marketing … telling the doctors to look for an ROI before you leap into social media.

Thanks again for this thoughtful post Dan,

Dike Drummond MD

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